Solving data security challenges in the cognitive era
By Ashwani Mishra, ETCIO.com
There’s been no shortage of companies in the news for data leaks in the past few years as a result of hacking, insider data thefts, poor security and other reasons. On an individual consumer level, data breaches can cause a lot of frustration; on a corporate scale, they can be catastrophic.
The fact that the volume of data and information is rising exponentially makes this task even harder; besides, the generation of data is predicted to only increase.
As the world gets more connected and the Internet of Things (IoT) increases global connectivity on a hitherto unprecedented global scale, billions of connected devices are potentially under threat. This means that data security of a level never seen before is required, especially when data thieves appear to be getting more skilled, and targeted attacks continue to evolve by the day. With more devices getting connected, the points of illegal or fraudulent access to data are that much higher.
Advanced threat intelligence
Cognitive computing, through its ability to scan millions of internet pages and by helping learn patterns of malicious behaviour by systems and software, helps to identify, track and thwart attacks since machine learning is at the heart of most anti-virus software.
Information security teams now work with Big Data and analytics tools that enable them mine all of a company’s data (structured and unstructured) for security indicators. Cognitive analysis of data helps organizations comprehend and act on their oceans of data quicker, enabling a faster response to security threats.
But to handle these data capabilities, companies need their computing infrastructure tuned to the cognitive platform, which for instance, typically helps thwart fraud by reviewing transactions as they happen, not by getting wiser after the event. Cognitive security can help understand - with full capabilities for anonymization, data integrity and user privacy - vast amounts of information. It can assimilate it, understand it and use it to predict trends.
These new threats require new thinking, and that’s where the latest cognitive capabilities can help to handle and store data not just more securely but also anticipate threats so as to thwart attempts to steal information. We are quickly moving toward a future in which cognitive systems will make advanced threat intelligence a reality.
For instance, there are now cognitive systems that understand natural human language - which is not limited to merely indexing huge amounts of Big Data for keyword searches but also analyzing it for its semantic meaning, its resonance and emotional content, the significant entities and relationships in the text. This includes indicators of compromise and the malware, attack campaigns and threat actors associated with them.
These tools can assist organizations face cyber security threats. They offer better insights into the intention and behavior of both, external and internal threats, including of the latter kind wherein data breaches inadvertently happen in organizations, putting their computing infrastructure under threat. Besides all these capabilities, cognitive security tools increase the intelligence of those in charge of data security, in the process augmenting both infrastructure and human capabilities to address cyber security issues and events, starting from before they can actually happen.
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